Under Postcolonial Eyes

Under Postcolonial Eyes

Figuring the "jew" in Contemporary British Writing

Efraim Sicher and Linda Weinhouse

Studies in Antisemitism Series

316 pages
10 illustrations

Hardcover

January 2013

978-0-8032-4503-7

$55.00 Add to Cart
"Remarkably comprehensive."—Devorah Baum, Jewish Quarterly

About the Book

In the Western literary tradition, the “jew” has long been a figure of ethnic exclusion and social isolation—the wanderer, the scapegoat, the alien. But it is no longer clear where a perennial outsider belongs. This provocative study of contemporary British writing points to the figure of the “jew” as the litmus test of multicultural society. Efraim Sicher and Linda Weinhouse examine the “jew” as a cultural construction distinct from the “Jewishness” of literary characters in novels by, among others, Salman Rushdie, Anita Desai, Doris Lessing, Monica Ali, Caryl Philips, and Zadie Smith, as well as contemporary art and film.

Here the image of the “jew” emerges in all its ambivalence, from postcolonial migrant and modern everyman to more traditional representations of the conspirator and malefactor. The multicultural discourses of ethnic and racial hybridity reflect dissolution of national and personal identities, yet the search for transnational, cultural forms conceals both the acceptance of marginal South Asian, Caribbean, and Jewish voices as well as the danger of resurgent antisemitic tropes. Innovative in its contextualization of the “jew” in the multiculturalism debate in contemporary Britain, Under Postcolonial Eyes: Figuring the “jew” in Contemporary British Writing analyzes the narrative of identities in a globalized culture and offers new interpretations of postmodern classics.

Author Bio

Efraim Sicher is a professor of English and comparative literature at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, and the author of The Holocaust Novel and Rereading the City/Rereading Dickens: Representation, the Novel, and Urban Realism. Linda Weinhouse is a professor of English and women’s studies at the Community College of Baltimore County, Maryland. She has written widely on Doris Lessing, Nadine Gordimer, and Anita Desai.

Praise

"Remarkably comprehensive."—Devorah Baum, Jewish Quarterly

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface
Introduction
1. Under Colonial Eyes: Doris Lessing and the Jews
2. Under Postcolonial Eyes: Baumgartner‘s Bombay
3. Hybridity‘s Children: Andrea Levy, Zadie Smith, and Salman Rushdie
4. The Color of Shylock: Caryl Phillips
5. Down Cultural Memory Lane: Ali, Lichtenstein, and Gavron
6. The Postmodern Jew
7. Radically Jewish
Bibliography
Index

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